Forum - Banjo Ben Clark

Discuss the Banjo lesson: Pickin' Your Banjo Picks


Picks are important, so this is a must-see lesson to help you be a better picker!


Hi there! Everyone seems to say to use a plastic thumb pick. Is there a reason for that? I bought a set of picks which included a metal thumb pick. Just wondering if I need to get a plastic one or not. Loving the site by the way!


Hi Malcolm, Just from personal experience I found metal thumb picks a little too ridged and bright sounding. Never really found it comfortable to wear. I did a lot of experimenting before settling with a clear plastic pick. Everyone is different I am sure you will get lot’s of differing views here.


It’s mostly personal preference. I never cared for all metal thumb picks, but some people swear by them.

In the end, you want something comfortable to wear for hours and that gives you the right tone.


Great question…I think it’s mainly tone preference. People use metal because it can fit better and not get loose when you’re playing for long periods of time. That’s one reason BlueChip picks are so popular…it has a metal band but the pick part is a synthetic tortoise.


Thanks for all the info in this lesson…the bit about twisting the index and middle finger picks to line up with the angle of the hand for the picks to meet parallel with the strings was an eye-opener for me. I’d never heard this before (or maybe never noticed it before!), so it was exciting news for me.


@xmark The twisting was a game changer for me, too. My fingers are all goofed up because of football and my index finger almost takes a full 90 degree turn to hit the strings correctly.


Thank you so much for the tip about offsetting finger picks by 20%. I have been learning to play on and off for a couple of years and never knew this…it’s a game changer!


Small Correction at 04:40. Finger-pick stamping of 0.018 = Eighteen-thousandths of an inch; not eighteen hundredths of an inch.


Wow. Turning the picks just a little bit made a night and day difference. Thanks.